Feasibility of Using Parasitoid Wasp (Trichomalus perfectus) for Biological Control of Cabbage Seedpod Weevil in the Prairies

Priorities
Agronomy Research  Insects 
Start Date
2018
End Date
2023
Principal Investigator
Héctor Cárcamo - AAFC (Lethbridge)
Co-Investigators
Eric Lucas - Université du Québec à Montréal, Luz Belzile - Institut de recherche et développement en agroenvironnement, Scott Meers - Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Meghan Vankosky - AAFC (Saskatoon), Boyd Mori - AAFC (Saskatoon), Kevin Floate - AAFC (Lethbridge), Tara Gariepy - AAFC (London), Patrice Bouchard - AAFC (Ottawa), Peter Mason - AAFC (Ottawa)
MCGA Funding
$7,958
Total Project Funding
$585,100
External Funding Partners
Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Canola Council of Canada, Alberta Canola, SaskCanola
Report
Project Ongoing...

Research Objective

  • To assess the efficacy of the parasitoid wasp (Trichomalus perfectus) in managing weevils in Quebec
  • To study other weevils affecting canola production and their natural predators
  • To study any non-target effects of parasitoid wasps and its spread in Ontario
  • To create a model to predict the natural establishment of the parasitoid wasp and farming practices that might affect it in other Canadian regions where it might spread
  • To assess what landscape features help or inhibit the establishment of the parasitoid wasp
  • To compile all the findings of this study for public presentation

Project Description

The cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus Marsham) causes yield loss and damage to canola crops, resulting in over $10 million in insecticides per year being used to control it. The weevil is spreading, moving towards the Prairies in the north and east, where it has never been observed before. Other alternatives to control the weevil are not available, but there is potential for a biological control method using the parasitoid wasp (Trichomalus perfectus) to provide a permanent solution. The parasitoid wasp has been shown to effectively and permanently treat the weevil in Quebec, almost totally eliminating the need to use insecticides and protecting pollinators and natural enemies of the weevil. This study will look at the parasitoid wasps' management of the weevil, if it would affect any non-target species, and to study its potential as a biological control in other regions of Canada. There are no legal restrictions on using a parasitoid wasp as a biological control, but any potential harmful impacts need to be identified to ensure it will not influence other biocontrol programs for weed pests or non-target species. The importance of this study is to be proactive with the coming spread of the weevil, and to have a sustainable and environmentally-safe but permanent solution to protect canola fields from it. The use of insecticide applications is costly and harmful to the environment, so by using biological controls such as the parasitoid wasp, the side effects are eliminated while the goal of protecting the canola fields is still achieved.

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